My Rock Hall Predictions…er…Guesses

10.13 1.RRHOF

I cannot get a handle on the 2019 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees list. Upon first glance, the list appears to be full of deserving artists. But, as the hours and days past, the nominees’ histories seemed to all be very similar. If one takes an objective point of view, none of the artists are truly what I would call a “slam dunk pick.” So, with my limited knowledge, I began with the experts with the intention of coming up with average odds for each artist. Well, the experts are all over the place, with very little consistency. Believe it or not, no love was given to any of those artists who were eligible for their first year, such as artists who have always appeared to be future inductees like Beck and Outkast. Then, there are no Nirvanas, Pearl Jams or Green Days, who were obvious inductees.

10.13 Def Leppard
Def Leppard
10.13 Devo
Devo

 

Right now, the early leader in the Rock Hall’s fan voting is Stevie Nicks, which was totally a surprise to me. She has been inducted with Fleetwood Mac, yet I felt her solo career was one awesome album (Bella Donna) and a bunch of fair LPs, much like Sting’s solo career away from RRHOF Inductees The Police. However, it appears that Nicks’ popularity with her rabid fans may carry her into the Hall of Fame. Yet, on the other hand, another fan ballet is being conducted by Future Legends, which has Nicks in ninth place, so go figure.

10.13 Janet Jackson
Janet Jackson

J

10.13 John Prine
John Prine

 

Then, there’s Janet Jackson and Def Leppard, those stalwarts of Eighties music. First, Jackson is sixth in the Hall vote and fifth in the Legends survey. All the while, Def Leppard is a close second in the more important Hall vote and third in the Legends. So, as far as popularity goes, we can look to Stevie Nicks, Def Leppard and/or Janet Jackson getting in individually or all together.

10.13 Kraftwerk
Kraftwerk
10.13 LL Cool J
LL Cool J

To continue the effort by the Hall to drive me insane, they nominated two of the most notoriously and overtly political artists of the rock era with MC5 and Rage Against the Machine. To begin with, MC5 is from the Sixties and had little financial success. Yet, their ideals and militant-sounding proto-punk rock/metal hybrid paved the way for both metal and punk, especially their most obvious god-child, RATM. So, they seem like they will cancel each other out.

10.13 MC5
MC5
10.13 Radiohead
Radiohead

Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan is becoming a regular nominee, much like Chic before them. Chaka Khan has been nominated several both with and without her first band Rufus. Yet, the increasing notion that R&B, Soul, Funk, Pop and Hip Hop do not belong in the RRHOF, one thinks the band will never get the call. And the same goes for LL Cool J, whom people have forgotten was the premier rapper of the mid-Eighties, who recorded one of rap’s milestone LPs, Mama Said Knock You Out. Come on! It’s all been replaced by his acting career.

10.13 Rage Against The Machine
Rage Against the Machine
10.13 Roxy Music
Roxy Music

Every year, you can expect some crazy, off-the-wall nominees to be on the list. Not so much this year. The closest to that are excellent singer/songwriter John Prine, who has overcome some health issues to release one of his finest albums to date. And then there’s The Zombies, one of the Sixties holdovers who have not been inducted, just like Paul Revere & the Raiders and Procol Harum. As much as these two have influenced music, I just cannot bring myself to get excited about either.

10.13 Rufus featuring Chaka Khan
Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan

Likewise, Radiohead, the critics’ current rock darlings. I have never been excited by Radiohead, even after I saw them open for R.E.M. in 1995. Their success signaled the ending of my cutting edge days.

10.13 Stevie Nicks
Stevie Nicks

All of this leaves me with some personal favorite artists who remain important to me. No artist is as significant on this list as Todd Rundgren. The man is a musical genius, yet the public remains ignorant of all of his contributions. The nominees also contain the names of electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk and Devo. My loyal readers will all remember Devo’s place in my heart, and how significant the work of Kraftwerk was to my beloved Eighties music.

10.13 The Cure

As a child of Eighties music, Roxy Music played a huge role, even releasing one of the classic albums during the heady days of their New Romantic influence. And, of course, one cannot think of the Eighties without The Cure coming up in conversation.

10.13 The Zombies
The Zombies

So, there you have it. A group of nominees who are all good, even worthy of RRHOF induction. Yet, these artists are so evenly matched that it is difficult for me to predict who will be inducted. Personally, I would love to see the Hall actually induct seven of these artists, which would make for an entertaining evening and terrific performances that would translate to an exciting HBO program next Spring.

10.13 Todd Rundgren
Todd Rundgren

With that said, here are the seven artists that I would love to see inducted with the Class of 2019 into the RRHOF: Todd Rundgren, Devo, Janet Jackson, Roxy Music, Def Leppard, Rage Against the Machine and The Cure. But, if I take my heart out of the equation, my five are Stevie Nicks, Def Leppard, Janet Jackson, The Zombies and Kraftwerk.

It’s only rock and roll, but I like it, like it, yes, I do!

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Announce 2019 Nominee List

Hello rock fans! I was not planning to write this week, but circumstance have arisen for me to take a quick break from a little vacation to throw my two-cents in the ring concerning today’s announcement of the list of nominees for the 2019 Induction Class of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. This year, fifteen artists were nominated, which probably signifies that only five to seven of them will get the call for induction. Unfortunately, the list is super-light on African-American nominees (three!), with no Hispanics nor any other minority represented. Once again, the list is mainly dominated by classic rock artists. Today, I will NOT be making predictions about who I think will be inducted, I will simply be presenting the merits of each artist, along with their ranking according to Not in Hall of Fame (http://www.notinhalloffame.com/rock-and-roll), a fantastic website which ranks all artists currently not in the RRHOF according to their worthiness. Check it out since it’s one of my favorite Rock Hall-related websites, along with Future Rock Legends site.

Starting alphabetically, the first nominee is Def Leppard, the innovative UK pop-metal band that unwittingly jump-started the whole New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement of the late-Seventies and Eighties. Of all the groups in that particular genre, they were the illest fit, as they wore their Glam Rock influences on their sleeves. If Bon Jovi would just admit that his career was simply an imitation of the Leppards, along with a touch of Loverboy, I would have more respect for them. Leppard’s shortcomings was the lack of output of music while they were at the top of their game. But, when you almost lose your drummer in a car accident, while he does lose an arm, and he re-learns drumming from a whole new perspective and did it flawlessly. This is not a difficult prediction, but Def Leppard will win the Fan Voting.

Next, and it’s about time, is punk and new wave innovators Devo. This band was so far ahead of the game back in the late-Seventies that musicians are still trying to catch up to them today. They were one of the first artists to embrace a relatively new medium called the music video. Plus, what seemed as sarcasm at the time, their “Theory of De-Evolution” is proving to hold in the day of Trump and FOX News.

The next artist is ranked #18 on Not in Hall of Fame, Janet Jackson was one of the most important and commercially success artists of the Eighties, who was actually able to compete with both Prince and brother Michael critically and commercially. She could win the Fan’s Voting.

Little know singer-songwriter, and one of a long line of “the next Bob Dylans” that came along in the Sixties and Seventies, John Prine has remained a critical favorite over the years with his brand of literate lyrics set to folk music. Prine, unfortunately, is not well-known to the commercial music fans.

Just because they hail from Germany, Kraftwerk has continued to be an innovative source in the electronic music world. Although they had little success here in the States does not diminish them one bit as Not in Hall of Fame (NHF) ranks them #2 on their list of artists deserving induction. If it wasn’t for their synthesizer work throughout the Seventies and Eighties, we might never have heard synth pop, David Bowie, EDM, Daft Punk, LCD Soundsystem and Devo, to list a few.

As the only rap artist nominated, LL Cool J has been overlooked for far too long. Many have forgotten how important he was to the early days of rap. Plus, his Mama Says Knock You Out LP remains one of hip hop’s greatest artistic statements of all-time.

Back in the late-Sixties, young people were protesting for all kinds of social change. Of all the artists of the day, the most militant of them all was Detroit’s own MC5. These guys bridge the gap between punk and metal that will come to a head in the Nineties with bands like Rage Against the Machine. They may not have sold any records, but they are great nonetheless. NHF ranks them at #6.

Back in 1995, when I saw them open for R.E.M., I would have never predicted that Radiohead would have become the powerful artist they are today. They are so widely acclaimed that NHF puts them #1 on their list of artists deserving induction. I really thought they were a slam dunk for induction last year, so do not be surprised to hear their name listed for induction.

Rage Against the Machine has once again been nominated, and they will eventually be inducted. They remain one of my five favorite artists from the Nineties, along with Pearl Jam, Green Day and Nirvana, all of whom have been previously inducted.

People have been clamoring for years for the induction of Roxy Music. And, the band is so widely regard that NHF has them ranked #5. They were one of the few Glam Rock bands that were so highly regarded and embraced by the punks, new wavers and New Romantics to survive the movements to actually be included.

In a minor surprise, Fleetwood Mac enchantress, singer, songwriter and Heartbreaker-wanna-be, Stevie Nicks’ solo career is well known to those of us in our mid-Fifties. Her influence has been quiet, but when you look around, you see artists like Sheryl Crow, the Dixie Chicks and so many other female artists sing her praises.

Once again, The Cure has been nominated to appease the few Gen X-ers, such as myself, that feel “our” artists are being overlooked (The Smiths, anyone?). But, the world view of The Cure is so strong that NHF puts the band at #11 on their list.

When this man’s name is brought up, most of the responses I hear are, “He’s NOT in the Hall of Fame?” I am talking about rock music’s one true Renaissance man Todd Rundgren. The man has done it all: solo hits, hits with his band Utopia, album engineering (The Band’s Stage Fright), production work (to name a few, XTC, Meat Loaf, New York Dolls, Patti Smith Group, Grand Funk) and even video work before the days of MTV. Rundgren is highest on my personal list of artists to be inducted. But, don’t just listen to me, because the kind people at Not in Hall of Fame have Todd ranked at lucky 13. Not bad for a guy who just wants to bang on the drum on all day.

Now that Nile Rodgers of Chic has been inducted, the voters are going to continue to overlook that band and turn their attention to their other favorite to nominate but not induct, Rufus and Chaka Khan. Either put the whole band in or at least get Chaka in, and stop this madness! Unfortunately, this is only the third African-American act on the list! Diversity! The Hall needs to get back to diversity!

Last but not least, we have Sixties British Invasion band The Zombies, who happens to be voter Little Steven Van Zandt’s big push. The Zombies were fairly nondescript until they released a transcendent album Odessey and Oracle, AFTER the band had imploded. However, the album continues to grow in influence as younger artists began to listen to it and use it as a jumping point in their careers (Flaming Lips, anyone?). They remain a long shot at best.

So, rock fans, there is the 2019 Nominees for Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction. All of the artists are worthy this time around, but, unfortunately, the Hall seems to enjoy frustrating fans like me with a limited number of inductees. If you want to read my “fix” for the Hall, just go back a month or so to see my suggestions for a better induction of artists. We are now two months away from learning who will be inducted as the Class of 2019. Exciting times ahead!